PORTSMOUTH — Shawnee State University founding Board of Trustees member Dr. George F. White has been named a Hall of Fame Honoree by the Ohio Department of Veterans Services.
A U.S. Navy veteran, Dr. White was honored for numerous achievements supporting his country, his community, special disciplines in medical practice, and his decades-long work in higher education. The retired surgeon and specialist in otolaryngology practiced in the Portsmouth area for more than 35 years.
“I am truly grateful and humbled by this honor,” Dr. White said. “The work we’ve done to bring quality higher education to our region is one of the most important things we can give to our future generations, along with helping people be healthy and cared for. I am proud to have been a part of those first steps in that work.”
SSU President Jeff Bauer nominated Dr. White for the honor. President Bauer credited Dr. White as a champion of both medicine and learning.
Dr. White’s public service started early in life. Before military service, while still a youth, he was active in Boy Scouts of America, earned the rank of Eagle Scout, and represented the United States at an international scouting jamboree in England. From the 1970s into the 2020s, White has served on numerous community boards and committees. He also has served as a consultant to groups and providers for the underserved in Appalachia, from juveniles to prisoners to the learning-disabled, advocating for veterans, volunteer organizations, and charitable outreach.
“Fortunately for the people of southern Ohio, Dr. White believed two things to be right – that all deserve the highest quality of medical care and that all deserve the highest quality education,” President Bauer said. “He has spent his life advancing both areas and the people of rural southern Ohio are grateful.”
Dr. White was the last chairperson of the Shawnee State Community College Board and was elected the first chairperson of the SSU Board of Trustees. More than 30 years later he was nominated by former Ohio Governor John Kasich to serve an additional nine-year term.
“His impact on health care is matched by his impact on education,” President Bauer said in nominating Dr. White to the Veterans Hall of Fame. “His motion for Shawnee State Community College to become a four-year university had a significant effect on the community of Portsmouth and southern Ohio.”
Dr. White has been a staunch fighter for everyone to have access to good education.
“When we were discussing the decision to change from a community college to a four-year university, there were some nay-sayers who were prominent in the community and on the board at that time,” Dr. White recalled. “And finally, I said ‘I don’t give a damn what you think – we ARE going to be a four-year university!’”
Each year up to twenty veterans are named to the Veterans Hall of Fame through the Ohio Department of Veterans Services. For information about the Hall of Fame, visit www.dvs.ohio.gov.